Historic Lancaster Tavern

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Apr 24, 2019 - 12:30 PM

Photo: Brenda Lee Jackson owner and executive chef of The Historical Lancaster Inn is always ready to prepare and serve your food with a smile. Below,

Brenda Lee Jackson owner and executive chef of The Historical Lancaster Inn is always ready to prepare and serve your food with a smile. Below,

The unique and interesting Historic Lancaster Tavern, located in Lancaster Court House, serves toothsome 21st century foods in an 18th century setting. The staff defines southern hospitality at its best. At one time a residence, the tavern can accommodate four overnight guests and specializes in the best foods.


A recent lunch was spread before the 28 members of Central Village Homemakers celebrating the organization’s 45th anniversary.   

Brenda Lee Jackson, the owner and executive chef, has been operating the tavern for 11 years. Prior to stepping into the kitchen there she had worked two years at the Montross Inn. With that experience in hand she took over the Tavern. “My first chef was a French lady and from her I learned a great deal about food and its preparation.”

Brenda says that today, “I do all the cooking but have several prep cooks and a good staff. My specialty is fresh everything. I shop for all my foods. I buy all the seafood and fresh vegetables (organic). Pick them up and haul them in, thus eliminating food vendors. We serve lunch, dinner and brunch on Sunday. We can seat 50 diners comfortably.”

Visit the Tavern’s website to read about its menu listings. There are unlimited offerings. Brenda, who is also a bridal consultant, is sharing the recipes for some of her most requested dishes. Many more offer the ambrosial flavors that come with a visit to the Tavern.

Lancaster County records show the following: “Feb. 16, 1789: upon the motion of Henry Hinton, license is granted him to keep a tavern near the Courthouse green in this county. May 17, 1790; on the motion of Henry Hinton leave is given him to build a tavern on the courthouse bounds of this county.” Thus the Historic Lancaster Tavern began its operation 221 years ago. Additions were made during the mid-1800s.

Over these years the tavern had various owners through leases and sales. In 1881 Sarah George became the first woman to lease and operate the tavern and did so successfully for many years. 

In 1894 William Chilton bought the establishment and it became the family residence. In 1973 Lila Chilton sold the property to Jermiah O’Mears who used it as a dental office. Ann Thomas Parsons (Carter) bought the house 1982 and restored it to its original use, naming it the Lancaster Tavern. In 2008 Brenda took over the operations of the tavern, making upgrades in 2009. She is making a valiant effort in her operation of the tavern to continue the tradition of offering wholesome foods and Virginia hospitality.

The word historic was added to the Tavern’s name when the building and the sycamore tree in the yard were named to the National Historic Landmarks’ list.

Note: Facts on The Historic Lancaster Tavern were taken from the Tavern’s  history notes in the Lancaster Library.